There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

means test

The LORD has strident words for Israel (the Northern Kingdom) through Hosea, but, at least in 1:7, the words for Judah (the Southern Kingdom) were conciliatory: mercy would still come Judah’s way in the way of deliverance from external forces. But the promise of deliverance would be, the LORD says, through unconventional means. Not by military prowess would Judah escape the imperialistic aspirations of Assyria.

It may be trying too hard to make a principle of a slight phrase, but I think there’s something to learning to trust God through unconventional means of accomplishing His purposes. There’s something to resting in a subtler sovereignty–to resting in something beyond my control. But there’s also knowing that He may very well employ means more familiar to us to bring Him glory and us good. What I tried to say yesterday, among other things, was that wisdom entails a respect for both His conventional and unconventional manner of doing His will.

One pastor fleshes out this principle of, yes, employing conventional means of doing as the Lord commands, but not trusting in those means. The first time I heard the distinction I concluded he was making a distinction that’s impossible to abide by in real life. But perhaps there is a way to use conventional means while not trusting in them. Can you think of domains–or even experiences–in which you see this distinction borne out? Do share!

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